Park the Carr

( – promoted by Patrick)

Am I the only Howie Carr fan who thinks “Paperboy” should drop the appeals and get back to doing what he does best?

I think it’s pretty obvious that the Massachusetts courts will not overturn Judge Allan van Gestel’s October 16 ruling that Entercom Corp., the parent company of WRKO-AM, legally renewed Carr’s contract for another five years in July 2007, when the company matched the offer Carr received from Greater Media Corp., the parent company of WTKK-FM. Apparently, the contract Carr signed with Entercom in 2002 had a specific provision indicating that, in the event Carr received an offer from a competing station within the initial five-year period of his agreement, Entercom had the right to match the offer, thus causing the contract to “roll over” for another five years. Van Gestel ruled that such a provision was valid under Massachusetts law–and it’s difficult to see either the state appeals court or the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court overturning him.

I understand Carr’s distaste for some of WRKO’s programming decisions, most notably their selection of former Massachusetts House Speaker Thomas Finneran as the station’s AM drive host. However, from a consumer perspective, Carr’s absence from the airwaves is lamentable. Boston talk radio grows weaker every day Carr is not on the air.

I know it’s easy for a third party to say this, but there are times when life hands you garbage and you have to turn it into gold. Perhaps it would be wiser for Carr to see this recent ruling as one of these times.

I hope Carr realizes what’s at stake, and announces that he’s decided not to appeal Judge van Gestel’s ruling, paving the way for a return to ‘RKO. The region misses him. The fans miss him.

This could be a golden opportunity for Carr. With a Presidential election next year, and a Gubernatorial election in 2010, Carr’s voice is needed to add a note of conservative clarity to an environment of liberal lunacy. Carr should view returning to WRKO not as a burden, but as a challenge.

One of the most backward arguments made about Carr over the years is that he’s not on the level of Boston talk-radio legends Jerry Williams, David Brudnoy and Gene Burns. Just because Carr has a more “brash” style than Williams, Brudnoy and Burns doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be viewed as a legend–yet this anti-Carr attitude persists in far too many quarters.

Carr will spend the next five years on ‘RKO, according to legally valid clauses in the contract he signed five years ago. He should take this opportunity to silence his shortsighted critics once and for all. Instead of focusing on the annoyances that exist at ‘RKO, he should focus on delivering the absolute best radio program in the Boston area. I understand his anger over the actions of Entercom’s bigwigs–but he must channel that anger, using it to take his show to even greater heights.

I get the sense that when he returns to the air, we’ll hear a “new” Howie Carr–angrier, far more sarcastic, far more direct in his criticisms of Massachusetts politicians. Fueled by his disgust over the behavior of Entercom, Carr could possibly reach previously unthinkable ratings and revenue peaks.

First, however, he has to accept the clear boundaries of his 2002 agreement with Entercom. Carr may have issues with WRKO, but Carr is WRKO. He has already replaced Williams as the biggest star ever to sit behind the microphone at “Boston’s talk station.” Now, he has to take the hard first step of accepting his defeat in court–a step that must be taken for his powerful, pugnacious voice to once again be heard.

About D. R. Tucker